Who says social media activism is not going to work? Well, I guess it’s working because in a news report on GMA News recently, the Bureau of Customs is introducing a database system designed to eliminate the opening of balikbayan boxes of overseas Filipino Workers once the system is up and running.
The database system would collect all the legitimate names of overseas Filipino Workers from the Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration (OWWA).
In theory, once the balikbayan box arrives at the Bureau of Customs and the name of the sender matches with the OFW listed in the database, opening of the balikbayan boxes is waived right away.
This is obviously in response to the angry reactions of OFW’s on Facebook after the Bureau of Customs implemented manual inspections of balikbayan boxes allegedly to stop contrabands from entering the country.
But, the Bureau was forced to cancel this as per order of President Noynoy Aquino when the OFW’s actively campaigned on Facebook asking for the resignation of Bert Lina and the boycott of Liberal Party candidates in the 2016 national election. The shame campaign started when pictures of balikbayan boxes surfaced on Facebook with traces of pilfering allegedly committed by some erring Customs employees.
Meanwhile, Senator Bongbong Marcos has filed a bill in collaboration with Senator Recto to increase the tax-exempt value of the balikbayan box contents from $500 to $2,000. In addition the good senator has amended Section 105 of the Tariff Code of the Philippines designed to give duty and tax-free privileges to overseas Filipino workers so that they could send personal effects and including gift items to their families. You may read the entire post here.
What do you think about this new system from the BOC?